A Conservative councillor in Henley, Oxfordshire, has invoked the prime minister’s Christian faith as a reason why he should abandon plans to introduce equal marriage.

According to the Henley Standard, in a letter to David Cameron, whose Witney constituency is 34 miles away from Henley, Councillor David Silvester warned of biblical repercussions if the PM introduces legislation.

He wrote:

I believe you accept that the Bible is God’s inerrant word for conduct of men and women in all generations, yet I question whether you can know what it says about the behaviour implied.

If you had been a Bible student for well over 50 years, as I have, you would know that you are proposing to officially condone behaviour which the Bible dismisses as anathema.

Now, as prime minister, you are free to do that if you wish. What you are not free to do, and what only an Almighty God is free to do, is to control the divine consequences of your proposed action.

In this same word, God has written, ‘those who honour me, I will honour, and those who dishonour me, I will dishonour.’ It is my belief that if you go ahead with this legislation, you will again experience another tranche of God’s displeasure within your ministry.

What will happen precisely, and whether this time it will be terminal, I cannot say. But surely the Conservative Party has had enough discouragement in the last year without you and your ministers courting more.

In response, a Downing Street spokesman said:

“The vote on equal marriage will be a free vote for Conservative MPs as it is a matter of conscience. But, like all Conservatives, the prime minister believes in marriage as an institution which helps people to commit to each other and to say that they are going to care and love for another person.

“It helps people to put aside their selfish interests and think of the union that they are forming and society is a better and stronger place as a result.

“He does not think the state should stop people getting married unless there are very good reasons and he sincerely believes that being gay, lesbian or bisexual is not one of them.”